Privacy Commissioner Publishes Comments on Privacy Consent and Cyber Security

    Nov 08, 2016

    The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) recently published submissions in response to two government consultations dealing with privacy consent and cyber security. On October 6, OPC posted public submissions it received in response to a discussion paper on consent that was released in May 2016. The Office also posted Commissioner Daniel Therrien’s October 13 submission to Public Safety Canada for its Consultation on Cyber Security.

    OPC said it received 51 submissions on the consent discussion paper from individuals, organizations, academics, advocacy groups, information technologists, educators, and other interested parties, with the goal of identifying improvements to the current consent model that the Office could make within its jurisdiction. “Within the business community, many of the submissions suggested that there are ways to address some of the challenges to consent highlighted in the OPC discussion paper without resorting to legislation,” stated an OPC overview summary of the submissions. However, the summary stated, “a minority of the business submissions believe that a few amendments are needed,” noting that several organizations suggested an amendment to Section 7 of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) to include a “legitimate business interest” exception. 

    In his submission on cybersecurity, Commissioner Therrien focused “on both the need for organizations to safeguard personal information against electronic threats and the importance of guarding against cyber protection efforts infringing on people's privacy.” For the most part, the submission consisted of citations of and references to previous statements, OPC reports, and other published materials relevant to the questions asked in the cybersecurity consultation paper. In particular, Therrien urged the government to review OPC’s December 2014 research report on privacy and cybersecurity. 

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